LONDON (The Deal) -- European stocks fell on Wednesday amid a slew of disappointing earnings from companies including German chemicals maker BASF and Danish telecommunications firm TDC/AS.
In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.45% at 5,884.84 despite a report showing steady house price growth in January, while on the mainland the DAX in Frankfurt slipped 0.44% to 9,779.92. In Paris, the CAC 40 backtracked 0.53% to 4,333.64.
Markets in Europe fell after another volatile session in China, where the Shanghai Composite Index ended the day 0.5% lower following Tuesday's 6.4% drop to its lowest close since December 2014.
Other Asian markets fared better, with the Nikkei adding 2.72% to 17,163.92 in Tokyo and the Hang Seng climbing 1.02% to 19,052.45 in Hong Kong.
Stock futures in the U.S. pointed to a lower open for Wall Street.
In Europe, disappointing earnings weighed on a number of stocks.
In Copenhagen, TDC stumbled 9.76% after cancelling dividend payments and forecasting a drop in 2016 profit. The company also announced a strategic review of its Swedish operations, which it said may or may not lead to a disposal, but said it would keep its TDC Hosting business that had been the subject of a strategic review announced last April.
In Frankfurt, BASF slid 2.55% on a grim outlook from the world's top chemicals maker. The company predicts 2015 income from operations to drop to €6.2 billion ($6.74 billion) from €7.2 billion a year earlier, dragged down by lower earnings in oil and gas.
In Zurich, pharmaceutical firm Novartis (NVS) - Get Novartis AG Sponsored ADR Report retreated 3.23% after posting fourth-quarter results that fell shy of expectations and announcing a management shake-up at its Alcon eye-care division, where sales continue to decline.
In Stockholm, Ericsson (ERIC) - Get Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson Sponsored ADR Class B Report was down 4.75% on a lower-than-expected fourth-quarter gross margin. But the company said it saw a recovery in its networks segment in the fourth quarter, with strong emerging markets as India, Indonesia and Mexico offsettting weaknesses in Russia, Brazil and parts of the Middle East.
Nordea fell 4.67%. Scandinavia's biggest bank scaled back its dividend ambitions following a "challenging year with exceptionally low interest rates, geopolitical tensions and market tensions," as CEO Casper von Kuskell put it. He said the next three years would be a transitional period as the group goes digital.
In Madrid, Banco Santander (SAN) - Get Banco Santander S.A. Sponsored ADR Report shaved 1.45%. The group posted a 98% slump in fourth-quarter profit. Including one-off charges, net profit came in at €25 million, down from €1.46 billion a year earlier, amid a €600 provision to cover future U.K. loan protection claims and €1.1 billion in other charges.
Among risers, STMicroelectronics (STM) - Get STMicroelectronics NV ADR RegS Report added 3.51% in Amsterdam as investors welcomed its plan to shut down its loss-making set-top box business. The company estimates the move could lead to the elimination or redeployment of in 2,000 jobs worldwide and save $170 million a year upon completion, though with about $170 million in restructuring costs.
Aberdeen Asset Management gained 0.86% in London. The company posted GBP 9.1 billion ($13 billion) in net outflows in the fiscal first quarter as sovereign wealth funds withdrew funds from global equities.
Despite expecting market conditions to remain "difficult" for the rest of the year, the company is generally bullish, saying that it remains positive on longer term investment opportunities across investment classes and geographies.
And Zurich Insurance Group was up nearly 1% after announcing the appointment of Mario Greco as its new CEO to lead the company's turnaround, with effect from May 1. He spent the past three years in the same role at Italy's Assicurazioni Generali.
Later Wednesday after European markets close, attention will shift to the U.S., where the Federal Reserve is due to wrap up a two-day monetary-policy meeting.